The Benin Branch of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), on Thursday, barred its members from defending kidnappers in court.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the branch made this known in a communiqué signed by its Chairman, Collins Ogiegbaen, and Secretary, Pius Oiwoh, on Thursday in Benin.
The association said it is withdrawing its services from all suspects whose offences are related to kidnapping against the background of incessant cases of kidnap and attempted kidnap of its members.
“The branch hereby orders the immediate withdrawal of services of all lawyers registered with it from defending persons charged with the grievous and felonious offences of kidnapping and armed robbery.
“İn this regard and for purposes of emphasis, the branch resolves that all lawyers registered with it are forthwith prohibited from appearing for kidnap suspects either at the police station or in any court within the state.
“That this order for the withdrawal of services to persons charged with the aforementioned offences shall be with immediate effect until otherwise reviewed by a subsequent meeting of the branch.
“Consequently, any member of the bar found flouting the resolution/directive shall be heavily sanctioned accordingly,” it said.
The branch added: “That the bar resolves to write to the judges of the criminal division of the high court of the state to dispense speedily with cases of kidnapping and armed robbery pending before them.
“They are also to formally report to the branch counsel who appears indolent or shows lack of capacity or diligence in prosecuting these cases including members of the bar who are fond of filing frivolous applications before the court to delay the speedy hearing and determination of these cases, for sanctions.
“The bar resolves to inflict maximum sanctions and punishments on state counsel who are found to have compromised their briefs or show lack of capacity or appears indolent in the prosecution of persons charged with the heinous crimes of kidnapping and armed robbery.
“And on defence counsel who have formed the habit of aiding criminals through unconventional methods and unlawful means to escape the long arm of justice,” it added.